Times are bad too for Hongkies

In Economy on 24/07/2011 at 7:33 am

Hong Kong and Singapore have become the top two business locations in the world – ahead of cities like London and New York – a new study by CB Richard Ellis showed. It found that 68.2% of the world’s largest companies had a presence in Hong Kong.

Singapore was a close second with a tally of 67.5%, and Tokyo was third with 63.9%. In fourth position was London, with a score of 63.2%. Shanghai was fifth with 61.4%.

Middle class S’porean faced with stagnating wages but rising transport and property prices, are not impressed by this elevated status.

So what abt the people of the HK? The middle class are in worse shape than us except when it comes to democracy.  

The territory’s middle classes, known locally as the sandwich class because they are squeezed between the rich and the poor, are frustrated by unaffordable property prices and a lack of democracy in government.

Hong Kong enjoys many civil liberties unavailable across the border in China, such as the right to protest. But residents cannot vote directly for their leader or for many legislative seats.

According to a University of Hong Kong opinion survey released last week, dissatisfaction with the government over livelihood conditions has reached the highest level since 1992 …

“What you have is a whole wodge of people who have jobs but are still struggling, ” says Christine Loh, the head of the Civil Exchange think tank and a former legislator.

The sources of discontent are wide-ranging but centre on economic issues such as soaring housing prices, inflation and the wealth gap.

Inflation figures due to be released on Thursday are expected to show the city’s inflation rate stood at 5.2% in June, its highest in almost three years, driven by rising rents and soaring food prices.

Hong Kong imports 90% of its food and much comes from China where pork prices are at a record high.

Home prices rose last 24% last year and are up 12% so far this year as newly affluent mainland Chinese snap up apartments here.

According to a report by Demographia International, Hong Kong property, at 11.4 times gross median annual household income, is the most unaffordable in the world.

Nearly half the population lives in government or subsidised housing and buying their own home is out of reach for many residents.

As regards the very poor (our VB makes his HK counterpart look like Scrooge):

Tam Kin Wai, a retired hospital porter …  lives in a “cubicle home” that is barely 2m (6ft) wide with his wife and 13-year old son in Sham Shui Po. They must share a toilet and kitchen with eight other families. “Living costs are always going up,” he says.

Hey maybe the 60% of voters who voted for the PAP have a pt. Us 40% are the daft ones.

  1. Housing is screwed up in Hong Kong but on because most of the land is too hilly and unsuitable for housing developement.

    Only about 25 percent of HK is developed vs. 50 percent for Singapore. It’s bad in HK but it has more to do with geography than anything else.

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